Dr. Danny Jordaan, President of SAFA, has announced that after a three-day Lekgotla of NEC members, SAFA is to embark on a major overhaul.
Key messages are:
- An increased emphasis on the development of youth teams and women's football.
- The reintroduction of inter-provincial tournaments for men and women
- Tightening of lower league regulations to improve standards.
- The creation of football academies in all nine provinces
- A major training programme for scouts and coaches to enhance their abilities to improve talent identification across the country
- A greater emphasis on scientific research to improve player performance. Part of this programme will be in partnership with the University of Johannesburg and other institutions of higher learning.
- The strengthening our club licensing system to ensure proper governance and to promote development within the club itself.
"We have thrown away the drawing board and starting on a new slate," said Dr. Jordaan. "If we are to have a national team that can compete with the best in the world, then we have to strengthen development at all levels in order to produce players capable of beating the best in the world."
He said that the lekgotla had acknowledged that Women's football has not been receiving the attention it deserved. "We will be working harder to identify and develop promising young women to help them achieve their full potential," he said.
Jordaan said that the lekgotla had decided on several steps to ensure the success of the programme.
A top SAFA team will engage with the Minister of Sport, universities and school sports governing bodies to decide on practical steps to strengthen youth teams. "We intend to place considerable emphasis on school sport and junior leagues," he said.
The first of the new inter-provincial tournaments will take place from March 28 to March 31 in Moruleng in the North West. This will be for under-17 boys.
The Under 19 boy's tournament will take place in Bloemfontein between April 27 and May 2 (Under 19 boys)
Under 19-Women will take place between August 4 and August 9 in Modimolle, Limpopo.
SAFA intends to create footballing academies in all nine provinces. "We are able to do this with the co-operation of government at all levels," said Jordaan. "The first of these academies is already established in Kwa-Zulu Natal."
Jordaan said: "I am aware that there is speculation surrounding Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund. "I read in the news that this coach or that coach is coming to take over from Gordon. Well, I want to say that, at the moment, there is no vacancy."
Dennis Mumble, SAFA's chief executive, who has been charged with implementing the changes said that it will be a costly exercise. "We will fund this by approaching our sponsors, working with government at all levels, by seeking assistance from FIFA and CAF and the National Lotteries Board. "We are confident that this money will be found because it is so obviously important to all of South Africa. The future of South African football is riding on this if we are to achieve our objective of consistently being among the top 3 teams in Africa and the top 20 in the world."